In the wake of a campaign shakeup and Ukraine-related allegations coming to light, the Donald Trump campaign announced on Friday that Paul Manafort has resigned as campaign manager. Only a few days ago, Manafort retained his position as Trump handed Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway a bulk of the campaign responsibility. But when a campaign manager and a campaign CEO suddenly appeared, well, it made people believe Manafort had been demoted. And there’s likely a Roger Ailes component to this shake-up too.
Manafort, who is the second person to hold his position in as many months, tried to get out in front of a number of Trump’s recent scandals. He presented a glass-half-full image of Trump’s comments about the Khan family and his feud with a baby. But Manafort may have seen the writing on the wall after the campaign shake-up. On Friday, the campaign announced Trump had accepted Manafort’s resignation:
“This morning Paul Manafort offered, and I accepted, his resignation from the campaign. I am very appreciative for his great work in helping to get us where we are today, and in particular his work guiding us through the delegate and convention process. Paul is a true professional and I wish him the greatest success.”
But Manafort’s unraveling may have partially been of his own doing, given the recent revelation of his Ukraine “secret ledger” appearance. Manafort had once been an investor in a Ukrainian steel magnate, which connected him to politician Viktor Yanukovych as a consultant. But reports from the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine found a “black ledger” that showed Manafort receiving $12.7 million from Yanukovych’s party between 2007 and 2012. And The Associated Press reports how Manafort may have directly orchestrated a lobbying operation to sway American public opinion for Ukraine’s pro-Russian government.
Manafort had denied he received any off-the-book payments and was involved with Yanukovych’s party, but the allegations seemed to have hurt him. Yet with Manafort off to greener pastures, the Donald Trump campaign makeover is beginning.